Vagabond or Freelancer?

At dinner last night, it came out that various members of my family think I am a vagabond.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a vagabond.
In my seven years and four months as a freelance web designer and developer, there have been many ups and downs to working as a “consultant” rather than cube farming as an employee at an established company. Over the years, I have attempted to solve many of the major pitfalls of freelancing by purchasing my own health in-sewer-ants (Kaiser), opening my own 401k, and working at even-ing out the cash flow, etc., but I never thought of public perception as a pitfall of freelancing.
In web design and development, I know more folks who are freelance than who work at a company. Of the friends who do work at a firm / corporations, I only know of one who is truly satisfied and the others keep talking of going back to freelancing or at least entertain the idea of it or are jealous of friends who are freelance. Of my freelance friends, many of us toy with the idea of steady cube farming, but instead have started to form informal partnerships with other freelancers or small design/dev firms to have greater reach than just one person could.
But to be called a vagabond. Really.
Now to be fair the person who said this is in their late 80s / early 90s and this may be a generational gap issue and a lack of understanding of contemporary work practices & realitites more than an insult, but I was still surprised.
In the web design & dev world, I am a moderate stay at home freelancer compared to some of my compatriots who are on the conference speaking circuit or have clients spread far & wide. I do get out and about a couple of times a year, be it for conference speaking, conference attendance, or just plain travel. Heck, I haven’t even reached the gold status, let alone platinum super-flyer, with my frequent flyer program.
How can I be a vagabond if I am not even recognized by my fave airline as a frequent frequent flyer?
All jokes aside, I have reached the stage of life of which in some folks’ expectation I should have bought a house, started a family, and otherwise “settled down”. So when the news hit the family that I would be spending a great deal of the month of February trotting about on the Nokia Urbanista Diaries project… vagabond!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I will be out and about from Feb. 6th to 24th participating in the Urbanista Diaries project / challenge with Nokia N82. Now one of the glories of having a freelance web design career is that I can say “Yes!” to Nokia and not have to worry about not having enough vacation time. As a freelancer, I just need to get my work done, give warning to my clients and folks I contract with, and then off I go.
More on my destinations in a bit… I first need to find my tin cup, red kerchief, a hobo hat, and suspenders of which to deck myself out for my trip!

One thought on “Vagabond or Freelancer?

  1. That sounds so cool, Jen – hope you have a blast.
    And also I do think it’s generational…my older relatives have no idea what I do. : )

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